The 7 Stages of Small Business Success
A company’s assets can be sorted into two buckets: tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets are things the firm can buy or sell, such as inventory, real estate, equipment, machinery, offices, or company vehicles. Most business owners are pretty comfortable inventorying and appraising tangible assets.
But do you know how to measure the value of your intangible assets: your staff. Are you getting the most out of your employees? Are they as valuable as they should be? How do you know who to hire, which positions to create, and whether a job candidate is the best fit with your firm?
Start By Establishing Measurements for Positions, Not People
Instead of starting with employee traits for an evaluation, start by mapping out the parameters of that position. What should anyone in that job accomplish? Why does the role exist? What purpose does it serve? What personality traits should anyone in the post have? Establishing benchmarks for each job allows you to assign performance standards, desired personality attributes, and expected contributions.
Each Position is Assigned a Personality and a Prototype
Some business owners are uncomfortable assigning an ideal personality for a job. But when you take the current employee out of the equation, you can start thinking about traits that suit the position and match the business culture. For example, should a CMO be outgoing, creative, and enthusiastic in your firm? Does your organization need a meticulous, team-oriented, and predictable COO?
Once you put a personality in place for the position, you add a list of essential functions of the role to round out the prototype. For instance, in some companies, a CMO manages communications, creates sales materials, and handles PR. In another firm, the CMO may also oversee sales. Each company is different.
With position benchmarks in place, evaluating an employee’s or prospects’ suitability becomes much more manageable. If they match the job’s benchmarks well, it will be easier for them to meet your company’s expectations. Therefore, they will probably be more effective, experience success, and consequently show more loyalty. Matching people to benchmarks is a win-win.
The Role of Company Culture
The personalities and prototypes for a job can vary significantly among companies. Don’t assume that all positions look the same in all organizations. The change among industries is significant, so the needs of positions will vary quite a bit. Additionally, company culture plays an important role.
For example, suppose your company culture is innovative, creative, and brash. In that case, you may want an extroverted, big-idea CMO comfortable taking big swings and making a splash with the public.
Conversely, another company may be conservative and research-driven. They may need a CMO with focus and a professional, restrained manner.
Looking at these two examples, it becomes easy to see that companies A and B need two different types of CMOs. Can you imagine how unhappy the high-flying creative would be working for company B? And how frustrated company A would be if they hired a restrained introvert?
Benchmarking Needs Change Based on a Company’s Growth Cycle
In the startup phase, companies operate differently. They must be nimble, run lean, and change quickly to meet market needs. But established businesses should be focused on creating order, systems, and processes that allow them to scale up.
That’s why it’s wise to revisit benchmarked job descriptions as a firm grows. For instance, independent workaholics are invaluable initially but can get in the way once systems are in place. Process-driven staffs are excellent for a large organization but can be ineffective in the launch phase.
Benchmarking is the First Step to Increased Productivity
Benchmarking is not an exact science. Assumptions are made based on your circumstances. But it is an effective way to begin inventorying and leveraging your company’s intangible assets. Creating benchmarks for each position makes it much easier to identify and find people who can achieve their full potential within your organization. You start to hire better “fits” with your culture and requirements. You’ll also identify existing employees who may not fit into the company structure.
If you can find the right person to do the right job, you’ll be happier, they’ll be more productive, and your company will grow faster.
Carl’s Interview Starts at 20:57
Selling Your Business? Avoid These Mistakes!
Selling a business is not as straightforward as selling a house. After all, a company is a complex organism, and only some (or maybe none) of the value lies in physical assets. I’ve built and sold multiple businesses in my 30+ year career. In those first sales, I learned from my mistakes. And after a few hard knocks and some intensive research, I now know there’s a better way. If you’re considering selling your business now or in ten years, this article can help you avoid common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Doing It Alone
Most of us don’t sell companies very often, so very few entrepreneurs are experts at selling firms. That’s why so many business owners bring in a few professionals. Start before the sale by hiring an experienced business valuation expert. They will assess the firm to determine the fair market value. This valuation gives the owner an idea of how much the enterprise is worth “as is” and should also provide pointers to improvements that will increase the size of future offers. Often, with a few small improvements, you can substantially increase your market value.
Your financials will be held to a very high standard during a sale, so even minor errors or omissions can cause big problems. A reputable accounting firm with experience in business mergers, sales, and acquisitions, can help your internal accounting team compile financial statements and documentation in sale-friendly formats. Accounting consultants will help the team create, modify, or clarify income statements and balance sheets, catch errors, and ensure financial records and documents are above reproach.
Corporate law attorneys specializing in sales and acquisitions can handle legal or regulatory situations that may affect a potential sale. In addition, those same lawyers should be on hand to review contracts and agreements, such as leases and vendor contracts, to ensure they are transferable to a new owner.
Mistake #2: Choosing the Wrong Type of Sale
Business sales can be structured in a variety of ways. Each type of sale has its own benefits and drawbacks. So, make sure you’re working with a business consultant and a corporate attorney who understand sales and acquisitions.
We’ve listed the most common sale structures here.
Private Equity Firm
These buyers usually have the financial resources and expertise to grow a business. However, a private equity firm may have a short-term investment horizon, which means they are focused on maximizing their return on investment rather than maintaining the long-term viability of a company.
An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) enables employees to purchase shares in the company over time. Employee ownership rewards staff members and ensures that the firm is run by people who are invested in its success.
An employee ownership consultant may be required because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of the Department of Labor and the IRS’s Internal Revenue Code section 404(a)(3) govern ESOPs, so deviations from the prescribed process, intentional or accidental, break federal laws.
While it may seem simple to pass on the family business, it’s important to formalize the process to address legal considerations and prevent anyone from contesting ownership. The transfer should be formally documented and detail valuation, taxes, and ownership structure.
If an individual wants to buy the business, the process should start with a letter of intent (LOI) outlining the proposed terms for sale. Owners should also qualify individual buyers before moving forward by conducting background checks.
Selling to a Competitor
Your business may have the most value to your competitors. These types of sales usually require the seller to agree to non-compete clauses, which may limit their ability to run businesses in the future.
Mistake #3: Not Hiring a Consultant
It’s easy to view consultant fees as an expense, but when it comes to selling a business, their role is to minimize risk and maximize the asking price. Good consultants are not cheap, but their recommendations can protect owners from legal and financial threats. A consultant’s recommended improvements to the business can add millions to the asking price. And accountants’ contribution to bookkeeping can prevent costly delays or dropouts. When you look at the bigger picture, you can’t afford to keep them out of the process.
Want to learn more about how to get your business ready for a profitable sale? Contact 7 Stage Advisors today and start talking about your business.
Carl Speaks to Long Island’s #1 Internet Radio Station WLINY on Business Owner’s Point of View on NFL and Player Protest
Have you thought about how the player protest in the NFL affects the team owner? Does the protesting really affect the game?
Starting and running a business requires many things and having certain skills is definitely one of the things that you should put your focus on in this 2017. Lack of skills is one of the main reasons why people are not making progress in their careers. Skill gaps often lead to lower customer satisfaction, delays in product presentation, and many other problems. The same goes for those running a business. The good news is that acquiring skills today is much simpler than 10 or 50 years ago. Namely, you can now learn a wide range of skills online. However, if you just plan on running the business, there might not be a need for you to have specific skills like these. For many business owners, they will look to hire people with these specific skills that will be needed for the job. When hiring people to your business, they will probably need a device to ensure they can complete work to a higher standard. As the manager of this business, it’s important for you to oversee all operations. With the help of https://www.fleetsmith.com/features/management, you can configure these devices exactly how you want them. This should increase business efficiency and productivity. However, if you are passionate about learning new skills as well, then you should do it. You can never have too many skills as a business entrepreneur. There is no doubt that this practice is convenient, flexible, provides comfort, and lets people get a new perspective on business. The following is a shortlist of 6 skills everyone can learn online for a productive and profitable 2017.
1. Statistical data analysis
This might sound like something very complicated, but once you start learning it online, you will see that you were wrong. Besides business owners, students can benefit from acquiring this skill too. There are many software solutions for this type of analysis and it is up to you to master these programs. In this way, you can make better market shares predictions, analyze profit tendencies, and do other things that will improve productivity.
Now here’s another skill that is great for business. As you are probably aware, almost every modern business is looking for a way to be presented online and websites are still the most wanted form of presentation on the World Wide Web. There are many websites that provide online courses and tutorials that can help you become a good web designer. (2)
3. Fashion design
This might not be the favorite choice for everyone, but the truth is that this skill can help you make this year more profitable and more productive. Clothes are one of the basic items in the lives of almost every individual. This means that people will always buy clothes. Use online videos found on video-sharing websites and websites where you can get step-by-step guides related to fashion design and how to draw the perfect piece of clothing.
Business research is a broad term which usually involves things like researching a few businesses in one industry or researching the structure of business for investments or presentation. If you conduct some research you will notice that there are many online articles and videos related to business research that can help you.
Did you know that this is one of the fastest-growing businesses today? If you are prepared to start a new business, you might take this skill into account. Obviously, the best way to master this skill is to watch videos and to visit websites that have articles with many how-to images.
6.Run a blog
Finally, it’s a smart move to master the art of creating and running a blog. With the help of a blog, you can showcase your work and skills and establish yourself as an authority. Choose the form of your blog and the things you share on this blog wisely.
Follow these timeless tips for acquiring useful skills over the Internet for a successful 2017.
Marketing in 2017 brought many exciting new trends and we are constantly seeing a big demand for more personalized web content, many new strategies for reaching target audiences, and other innovative methods for advertising. The following are some of the most popular marketing trends for 2017.
Mobile domination is an increasing trend in the marketing campaigns, as more and more people are accessing the internet through their mobile devices. Because of that, the way in which digital marketing is now used is more focused on smartphone users, due to the popularity of this type of technology. Things like advertisements can appear from anywhere to your internet browser, to your social media content, and places like whitehat-seo.co.uk can help businesses to implement a Pay Per Click Management strategy into the running of their company. This can help you advertise to as wide an audience as possible. But there are so many other things that your mobile can help with. Vertical video content and mobile messenger marketing are a couple of things that are growing and if you want to have a good marketing campaign, then focusing on mobile users is a must.
Video content is a crucial part of marketing, and this trend is growing stronger month by month. Videos are receiving bigger engagement from people and companies can squeeze additional content through the videos presented to the audience. They allow marketers to communicate their message more efficiently through storytelling. Every social media application has a video stream option available, so expect to see lots of mobile-optimized video content being produced this year.
According to many studies, a big majority of people depend on recommendations from other people they know, so influencer marketing is another thing that in full swing. Advertising and marketing are relying a lot on industry influencers, so traditional channels for marketing are slowly going away.
Many people are interacting with different brands through many different channels like blogs, e-mails or social media. E-mail marketing is an extremely popular method for marketing this year. This method constantly gets improved and is no longer a simple copy sent to many users, but it is often customized based on location, online behavior, time of day, messages, and more. Yes, online behavior – some companies will use technology available from places like Luth Research to track the online behavior of customers to aid their market research.
Messenger bots are also very popular today, especially on platforms like Facebook. Many leading brands are using them for processing orders and for delivering stock quotes.
Interactive content marketing is also a very useful method that brings many benefits to marketers. Through this method, brands can gain bigger attention and can easily communicate their message to the audience. Many companies have recognized the useful aspects of interactive content marketing and started to build numerous interactive tools for online users. Interactive infographics, personalized approaches, live charts and data visualizations are often used by businesses and serve a great purpose in their marketing campaigns.
Native content is very important in the marketing campaigns in 2017. Today, different marketing channels require different methods. Some are used for expressing in written words, while others are for showing short and long videos and digital images. No matter the channel, all of them have specific content that can do well on that channel, but poorly on another one. Although it can be often hard to make optimized content for every platform depending on how many platforms you are using, we can still expect to see a much-improved performance by the digital marketers in regards with the native content.
When thinking about processes to approach a lead, the first thing that should be made clear is what exactly a ‘lead’ is. A lead is the person that is interested in buying your product or using your services. They are very important for any business, so converting leads to customers is what every business seeks to do. If you are approaching your leads in a structured, strategic and systematic way, you can increase the number of leads and their conversion rate into customers.
The following are some steps and processes which you should follow in order to approach a lead. Focus on the leads you think are right for your business and determine what will work best for your business.
- Synchronize marketing with sales. These two parts must be aligned closely in order to achieve best results. Many businesses today are using a couple of steps for processing leads. Marketing helps in increasing leads, while sales qualify and convert the leads. In order to reach best results start by mapping out the sales process in your company, define clear criteria between marketing and sales, and establish metrics for success up front.
- Get the attention of more leads. Capturing more leads will lead towards increased business. In order to get leads, you can use web campaigns, such as search engine marketing or using social media platforms. These two are some of the most successful strategies for capturing leads. You can also import leads from e-mail applications or spreadsheets, or enter leads manually. Entering leads manually works best for approaching individual leads.
- Data should be always kept clean. Some of the ways for keeping your data clean include regular cleaning of your leads and using validation rules.
- As soon as you get a lot of leads you have to start thinking about ways how to get the most out of them. Each lead has different quality, so prioritize them in a way in which the hottest leads will come first. You can prioritize leads with lead scoring, which is using a point system for assigning different values to characteristics that are aligned with the successful sales. You can then categorize scored leads into different priority levels and final step is to use assignment rules to route leads.
- In order for you to improve the number of leads, you have to learn which marketing ways and tools are giving you best results. Are webinars, e-mail campaigns or Google campaigns giving best results? You can find out more about that if you start identifying and tracking sources. Find out where you get most of the leads. You can also use the lead history report in order to analyze different things. This report can tie the lead criteria such as the annual revenue, lead source, opportunity amounts, and industry, giving you the power to separate the revenues for different leads. Another thing which you can do is use campaigns to track the success of different lead-generation efforts, and also use reports and dashboards to get a clearer view of the entire sales process.
Modern customers are more educated, demanding and knowledgeable than ever before. On top of that, they simply ignore casual visits, small chats, and suggestions that appear to be random. The majority of people today are using the Internet and other sources to perform research before buying a service or product. So, we can freely say that it is not difficult to find out where you can locate prospects, but capturing their attention can be quite a challenge. We should not forget that the competition today is fierce and you have to keep on fighting for prospect’s attention even if you are running a successful business. The good news is that there is more than one way to capture their attention.
First and foremost, you should try to answer all their questions. Even if you have used the Internet, especially online forums, to find a solution for some of your problems (for instance, problems with your facial skin), you have probably seen that many people had the same issue like you but didn’t get accurate answers. Now, think about your reputation among them in case you were able to provide a straightforward answer. In addition, imagine a situation in which you could answer all the questions on these online forums. You could establish yourself as an authority and have an impact on these people. The same goes for people running traditional businesses. The learning process related to your industry should never stop and no matter where your focus is placed, you should always be upgrading your knowledge.
Next, it is a good idea to over-deliver by letting them learn more about some crucial concept. This means that you should not only provide an answer to their question (problem) but also help them stay safe in the future. This added value will grab their attention and provide you an opportunity for free marketing. People will start referring your business to their friends and family.
Another great advice is to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects. In other words, highlight only the things that are important in the eyes of your prospect. What will make them show interest in your offer is to hear what makes you different than the others and what they can expect from your services or products. That’s everything they want to know, there is no need for chit chats and presentation of unnecessary information.
It is also very important not to give up after one attempt. Ever experienced business person and marketer will tell you that it usually takes more than one email or call to get your prospect’s attention. In some case, you will need more than five contacts to trigger some action on their side. Don’t forget that you can use some other methods of communication like direct mail for example. The same goes for phone calls which may sound a little bit outdated, but the fact is that this gives a human touch to the communication.
Follow these tips, be patient and hopefully, you will be able to get your prospect’s attention.
John says, “If you are a small business owner, a key employee or a manager this session will be one you really enjoy.”
The holiday season is usually the busiest time of the year for many retailers. This is quite natural because the season is making many people buy gifts and things for themselves too, however, there are some businesses that are dead during the holidays and it seems that they are partially guilty for this situation. The good news is that there are certain things business owners and managers can do to avoid the problem and make these holidays profitable like never before.
First of all, business owners should be aware of the fact that the holiday season is making many employees happy, but this happiness makes them less focused on their work. In addition, many employees take sick leave because it’s easy to get cold in the winter. In case you want to protect your business operations and make sure that everything is running smoothly you need to have a backup plan. So, in order to prevent a total collapse, you must find a way to reassign employees to different positions in case someone is missing. You can also look for possible substitutes before you need them.
Next, there is no doubt that the holidays make many of your employees think about the past year and what they have done in their lives. According to some sources, this is the time of the year when many people are looking for a new job too. So, it would be perfect to find a way to boost your employees’ morale. Reduce their working hours during this period of the year, throw parties and give them gifts. This should boost their morale and make them more productive which will eventually make your business more successful.
Many businesses are dead during the holidays because they have to be closed for some time. However, thanks to modern technology this is no longer a problem. Namely, you can keep running your business online. If you have an adequate online presentation (usually in the form of a website) you can keep your business open for customers 24/7, 365 days of the year. In addition to your website, you can also use social media platforms. The only thing business owners should take into account is shipping.
As previously mentioned, the holidays sometimes bring bad winter weather and many businesses are suffering because of the weather. Since we cannot change the weather, we can only prepare ourselves to lower the effects. Cleaning the premises, using a power generator, making sure that the HVAC system is working – these are some of the activities that you can practice in order to keep your business running. You could always contact the likes of the local business Castle Home Comfort Heating & Cooling to come and perform maintenance on your HVAC system to ensure it remains in working order throughout the season. Not being able to heat or cool your business could be a disaster for both your employees and your customers; nobody likes to feel uncomfortably hot or cold, so a working HVAC is imperative to a desirable commercial environment.
Finally, if you didn’t organize any seasonal contests for your business, the holiday season is the best time of the year for an activity like this. Instead of counting the days for when the holiday season will be over, you can activate potential and existing clients to keep buying products and services from you. Just make sure that your contest is shared as much as possible.
As you can see, businesses that are dead during the holidays can take some measures to boost their sales this year.
Carl Gould is a business strategist, and growth expert. He has written 5 books in the area of creating business success, and is the co-host of the weekly radio program, ‘Quit and Get Rich’ (www.gteamradio.com). Carl and his team of experts advise companies and organizations to grow to the next level. What is the next level for you?
When are they going to realized that you cannot manipulate the market forever? The Middle East dominance of the oil Market has come to an end… they are (understandably) desperately trying to hold on to their market share. Manufacturers all around the world have found more efficient ways to consume oil, and other alternatives fuel sources to the point that oil reserves are not nearly as important as they once were. Every business faces this dilemma (if it’s lucky!) when a brand or a product moves beyond the peak of its life cycle, or the patent expires, or its significant competitive advantage is removed. If you are a business that is in anyway related to the oil and gas industry, there is a new paradigm. You no longer have a license to print money… you’ll now have to go out and fight for your customers, and, like the rest of us!
Corporate investment in your own stocks is a sign that the company has high confidence in its own ability to grow, and they think their own companies worth investing in. However, it is an admission that the stock is doing poorly and it is around the lowest that it expects to be. If you are a Buy and Hold investor, and you like to find a low point… This is probably it! No 20 year period in the stock market history has shown and overall loss… So if you are thinking long-term and are looking for a Buy Signal so you can hold onto stocks for an extended period of time, then this might be your opportunity. You should expect uncertainty in the market and some vulnerability that typically coincides in presidential election years beware, and be in for the Long Haul!
In many ways, the mandate to use biofuels is a gift to President Elect Trump. He can make two groups of supporters happy with him at the same time… Farmers and refiners. When you think about it, the amount of energy that is needed on a daily basis in the United States is staggering, and there is plenty of room for both types of fuel to exist and thrive. It is estimated that our global population will go from 7 billion currently to 10 billion within my lifetime. We need all types of fuel, and for the United States to become totally self-sufficient and minimize the need for outside suppliers of fuel comma we will need to embrace virtually all types of energy sources. As long as the technology to burning, renewing and recycling the energy is clean… Then they should all be on the list.